~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Story by Robert McKee ~ Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Today, I've set aside time to go through Robert McKee's excellent articulation of the elements of effective narrative. I figure, it's a good reminder, as I want to start working on Inanna next. I think I'll need to "storyboard" it out in order to make it the most effective. It will likely be a few weeks of planning and working out the details and the arc of the scenes, sequences and acts (so to speak). Of course, my storyboards don't include drawings--but I do use a whiteboard and coloured stickies. It's nice to have that visual expanse to refer to--or so I found when I was working on _An Immodest Proposal_. It really made a difference in keeping things tight and focussed.

The McKee book is called _Story_ and while it's ostensibly aimed at screenplay writers, many of the principles apply to prose as well--particularly since the movement is towards more scene-based narrative in novels. The current aesthetic--conditioned by film, I suspect--parses exposition as less readable, direct and engaging, and scenes/action/movement as more engaging. And so, I've been working on that--trying to minimize exposition and narrative summary and have more active, relevant scenes instead. It's a lot harder that way, and when there are word length constraints, it's not always possible (e.g. the story I'm working on right now, for a contest. The word limit is 5,000 and so I've been dancing around that--add a bit, take out something elsewhere--for the last while. The result has been more exposition than I'd like. Still, that's often the challenge--creating interesting characters and a story that's layered, complex and full, but also doing it within a reasonable word limit).

The other thing I'm doing today is working on the aforesaid story, and trying to add stronger closure, while staying within the word limit. So--back to that!

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 1:05 PM::::


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